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Resounding no to charter schools from NZ and New Orleans

19 February 2013

Resounding no to charter schools from New Zealand and New Orleans

There is no educational or financial justification for charter schools, only a cynically political one, PPTA president Angela Roberts says.

Roberts, who will be presenting PPTA’s submission on the Education Amendment Bill to the Education and Science Select Committee tomorrow, said the only reason for charter schools to proceed was the single vote the Epsom electorate supplied.

“If the Act Party and its wealthy backers really believe they have the silver bullet for addressing educational underachievement, they should have the confidence to fund the experiment themselves and not demand full taxpayer funding while trying to evade accountability for spending it,” she said.

Also presenting to the committee tomorrow will be Karran Harper Royal, a New Orleans parent activist who has seen first-hand the damage charter schools did to her community after Hurricane Katrina.

Harper Royal is in Auckland at present - with support from opposition parties and PPTA - and will share the real story of the “cruel hoax” of charter schools in the US at a public meeting for parents at Kia Aroha College from 6pm tonight.

“The New Orleans experience is a stark example of the educational disaster that has occurred in countries that have embraced privatisation, competition and charter schools,” Roberts said.

Despite the fact there is no evidence from anywhere in the world that competition raises educational quality, the charter school experiment will be foisted on resentful New Zealand communities because of an unwarranted belief in “diversity”, she said.

“Diversity in this context means privatisation as the New Zealand education system is already the most devolved and diverse in the world.”

Roberts will present the select committee with examples of a wide range of innovative practice already happening in New Zealand schools, from timetable arrangements and Maori and Pasifika education to virtual learning communities.

National Party members of the select committee would be saddled with a big responsibility, Roberts said.

“Cash strapped school communities will be watching what they do and will not be impressed if they see their elected representatives dishing out taxpayer money a so wealthy and unqualified elite can play at being educationalists with other peoples’ children.”


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